Clemente’s remarkable life explored throughout ’21
We might begin to try to find an explanation by examining a quote from Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, who revered Clemente both as a player and as a person. Shortly after his tragic passing, Commissioner Kuhn remarked to the media about Clemente: “He had about him the touch of royalty.” It remains arguably the most memorable quotation ever made about Clemente.
But what exactly did Kuhn mean in making that assessment? Some people have misinterpreted the remark, suggesting that there is an implication of Clemente being elite, above the fray, even arrogant. No, that is not what Kuhn meant, not at all.
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– Clemente’s charitable efforts encompassed much more than his ill-fated flight, a mission of mercy to earthquake-torn Nicaragua. At the conclusion of each season, Clemente returned to his native Puerto Rico, where he staged free baseball clinics for those youngsters whose families could not afford to pay for such hands-on instruction. Clemente also donated his time during the season, often visiting young patients at Pittsburgh’s Children’s Hospital. Not wanting publicity, he did this without informing the media.
– Clemente possessed a genuine interest in becoming a public servant, an avenue that he might have pursued if not for his early death at the age of 38. Those who knew Clemente well would not have been surprised if he had run for political office in Puerto Rico. And they would not have been surprised if he had won.
As is plainly evident, there is much to be explored within the life of Roberto Clemente. We will look deeper into his accomplishments, his struggles, and his perseverance – and examine why he remains so intriguing to us decades after he last took the field.
Bruce Markusen is the manager of digital and outreach learning at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and wrote Roberto Clemente: The Great One, a biography which was published in 2013